Last year, I got to witness competitor Jamie Garcia ripping around in a wicked fast bathtub. This year, I got to ride in a tub… a 12 person tub! It’s always fun out on the water in Nanaimo but when you’re in the world’s largest bathtub, celebrating the amazing World Championship Bathtub Race, it’s pretty next-level on the fun meter! I was in town once again with FestivalSeekers to learn more about this year’s Nanaimo Bathtub Race and Marine Festival.
Nanaimo Bathtub Race and Marine Festival
When: July 21 to July 23, 2017
Where: Nanaimo’s harbourfront
I stepped aboard the world’s largest bathtub, where prime ministers and other dignitaries have stood, and we set sail through the channel and over to Departure Bay. Just beyond the docked ferries, is the site of one of The Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society’s World Cup Bathtub Races – one of several races that take place outside of the annual Bathtub Weekend in Nanaimo. Serious tubbers can also race in Powell River, Summerland, Oak Bay, and Silverdale, WA, between June and September. Of course, the main event is the International Bathtub Race in Nanaimo, happening on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
The race is full of excitement and it’s such a unique event that started right there in Nanaimo. The festival includes many other satellite events on shore including the King Neptune Dance, Sail Past On Wheels Fun Parade, the Quality Foods Festival Of Lights & Music with a nighttime fireworks show in the harbour, and more.
During my giant bathtub adventure I got to sail around a bit of the race course, past Protection Island, the gorgeous Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, and then the Dingy Dock – one of Canada’s best floating pubs. All of these locations offer a front-row seat to watch a hundred bathtubbers conclude their 58-km race in the summer.
At one point we docked and I got out to tour around downtown Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park a little bit (not sure why I didn’t take off my lifejacket at this time) but I was feeling the marine fun coursing through my veins! The park will be a hive of activity during the festival and it’s also where you can tip your hat to the statue of Frank Ney, Nanaimo’s Pirate Mayor.
You can experience some of the excitement from the shores of Kitsilano Beach as the Nanaimo Bathtub Race re-traces its old race route and comes right across the Salish Sea to Vancouver! 15 tubbers will leave Nanaimo Harbour on July 1st and embark on this cross-Strait throwback journey.